The No. 4 Cal women’s swim team will look to create a winning streak this weekend as they head out east for their second meet against a Pac-12 team this season, although the meet doesn’t count in the Pac-12 schedule . Facing off against Utah, the Bears will attempt to defeat another Pac-12 team before the conference season officially begins in January.
Cal (2-1) is coming off a dominant win, 161-124, over No. 19 Wisconsin last weekend at home in a dual meet with the men’s team. The Bears had spectacular performances from junior Elizabeth Pelton and sophomore Marina Garcia, who each won two individual races. Garcia was able to claim her season-best time in both the 100- and 200-yard breaststroke, 1:02.93 and 2:15.29, respectively.
Sophomore Missy Franklin finished in first in 54.36 in the 100-yard backstroke with two Cal teammates behind her placing in second and third. The Bears also claimed both diving events with junior Anne Kastler claiming first in both the 3-meter and 1-meter springboard, giving Cal its first diving victory of the season. But Cal continued to show its lack of a long-distance swimmer so far this season, losing both the 1,000-yard and the 500-yard freestyle to Wisconsin junior Jenny Holtzen.
Cal will look to improve in these races and take advantage of a Utah team that is coming off a rough loss. The Utes were defeated by No. 13 Arizona, losing by more than 100 points. At the same meet, Utah was able to defeat UNLV by an almost identical score, 208-91.
But on a more individual level, against Arizona, the Utes failed to win a single event. They received many second-place finishes but were unable to overcome the Wildcats. One standout for Utah was junior Petra Soininen, who finished in second in both the 200- and 100-yard butterfly. In addition, she was on the Utes’ 200-yard medley relay team, which finished in second as well.
Another member of the relay squad who performed well was senior Giuliana Gigliotti, who finished second in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 23.48. Gigliotti could be a swimmer the Bears need to watch out for when Cal heads to Utah, as the Bears lack a natural sprinter.
Exciting news came for Cal coming into the meet as they signed four of the five top recruits for the 2015-16 season. This includes three swimmers who will be representing the United States at the 2015 World Championships: Katie McLaughlin, Kathleen Baker and Abbey Weitzeil. Weitzeil was a finalist in both the 50- and 100-meter freestyle at the 2014 national championships, which is an area the Bears need more swimmers in. McLaughlin in butterfly, an important addition as there are currently only seven swimmers on the Cal roster who swim butterfly.
For now, though, the focus is on whether or not Utah can surprise the Bears over the weekend. The meet, which takes place Friday at 2 p.m. in Salt Lake City at the Ute Natatorium, will be the last Cal swims in until early December. The Bears will look to make this one an event they will want to remember.
Alaina Getzenberg covers women’s swim. Contact her at [email protected]